Retailers are bracing for a softer holiday season due to the pandemic. They will see, however, a major shift to ecommerce this holiday season. US consumers will spend $190.47 billion this year on holiday ecommerce purchases, up 35.8% and representing an incremental $50 billion in sales versus 2019. In-store holiday sales will decline by 4.7% to $822.79 million. But online gains will entirely make up for these losses, resulting in growth of 0.9% for total holiday season sales, to $1.013 trillion. (Note: We define holiday season sales as those occurring in November and December.)
“This holiday season will see a continuation of the channel-shift to ecommerce, as shoppers look to avoid crowds and minimize their number of in-person shopping trips,” said Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. “With these huge gains expected, there’s growing concern around the potential for ‘shippageddon,’ where high package volumes overwhelm logistics capacity and result in deliveries arriving after Christmas. We believe that shoppers will pull forward more of their purchases than they typically do and shift ecommerce buying to click-and-collect orders over the last 10 days of the season to prevent these scenarios.”
The Cyber Five promotional period—Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday—will continue gaining share of the total holiday ecommerce pie, rising slightly this year to capture 20.5%. We forecast that Cyber Five ecommerce sales in the US will bring in $39.10 billion in 2020, up 39.6% from 2019.
Within the Cyber Five period, there will be some record-breaking days. It begins with Thanksgiving, which we forecast will see a dramatic increase in sales of 49.5%, reaching $6.18 billion. With most big-box retailers keeping their doors closed on Thanksgiving, we anticipate shopping will move to mobile, making it the ultimate day for “couch commerce.” Black Friday will experience its first-ever $10 billion spending day, rising 39.4% year over year. The Cyber Five period will be capped off with record-setting sales on Cyber Monday, which we forecast will rise 38.3% to $12.89 billion—once again landing as the top online spending day of the year.
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